Sunday, November 23, 2008
So Shelley and I are going through a book called 101 Romantic Evenings. Yes, I need all the help I can get. My first "romantic" evening was awesome as it could possibly be. My task was to get fortune cookies and swap out the fortunes for my own creative, romantic sayings (thankfully the page for this night had lots of examples), and coordinate with my favorite local Chinese restaurant to serve the cookies I brought over earlier that day. What a nice surprise. How easy! How?
Challenge #1: One Chinese restaurant that is not worth going to.
Challenge #2: no fortune cookies to swap out the fortunes.
Challenge #3: language barrier to set up the plan.
So having been here for almost three years, I think I can overcome all these challenges. Since I like baking and cooking, I figure I can just make my own fortune cookies and well, that was the only thing that I really got right - the cookies & fortunes.
The evening started out with a stop off at an ATM machine to get some cash. As I try to be a gentleman to open Shelley's door for her. I have to unlock mine first because the lock on her side doesn't work. Well, I locked the keys in the car. Fortunately our neighbor could quickly bring us our other set of keys that were at home. Whew, I was saved from total disaster.
Dinner at Hangman's (we're on a tight budget, and we just like it)
Desert at the Club 96 restaurant in Palmilla.
So I figure at Club 96 where they cater to some of the most well-to-do who live or visit Cabo could handle the surprise delivery of the cookies. When I brought my home made cookies to them in a Tupperware and told them to serve us these cookies just before we get the check, their clear confirmation and accommodation seemed like they could do just that... serve us the cookies.
Things were going perfect. The chef had brought out two other sample treats that we didn't order... it would seem just perfectly normal to have them bring out another one. As Shelley was in the restroom, I confirmed with our server that he had everything ready. The moment of truth: Out comes the server proudly bringing on a beautiful plate... my Tupperware with the cookies inside.
There went the surprise, total flop.
Fortunately, Shelley is just awesome about rolling with things down here; and we got a good laugh.
For those of you who want to give this a try, here is the fortune cookie recipe I used:
2 tablespoons butter (no substitution)
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
14 strips paper (3 by 1/2" each) with fortunes
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 2 small cookie sheets. [I used our toaster oven, because you only want to do two at a time, max... I ended up doing one at a time. TIP: Put wax paper on the tray that comes with the toaster oven, and a drop of vegetable oil to ensure easy removal.]
2. In 1-quart saucepan, heat butter over low heat until melted. Remove saucepan from heat. With wire whisk, beat in confectioners sugar, egg white, vanilla, and salt until blended. Beat in batter until batter is smooth.
3. Drop 1 heaping teaspoon batter on to cookie sheet. Repeat with another teaspoon batter, at least 4 inches away from first. With small metal spatula or back of spoon, spread batter evenly to form two 3-inch rounds.
4. Bake about 4 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden. [TIP: wait until the edge is golden brown about a half inch around the cookie] Loosen both cookies with metal spatula. [If you use the wax paper getting them off is just as easy as picking off the wax paper and turning them upside down] Working with 1 cookie at a time, place a fortune across center of hot cooke. Fold hot cookie in half, forming a semi-circle, and press edges together(a). Quickly fold semicircle over edge of small bowl to create fortune-cookie shape(b). Repeat with other cookie. Let shaped cookies cool completely on wire rack.
5. Repeat with remaining batter and strips of fortune paper to make 14 cookies in all [Yea right, makes 7 to 8 cookies], cooling cookie sheets in between batches, and regreasing sheets as necessary. Store cookies in container up to 2 weeks. Makes about 14 cookies.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Camping and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in our breezeway.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Jeremiah quickly posted last week about Elias’ 2nd Birthday but I thought it seemed like a good idea to devote a little more space to the big E and his second year of life. I think I could start by saying that this little guy is one tough cookie and has a heart of Gold. The heart of Gold part was in full effect the day that Jeremiah saw him give Owen and big hug and say "I Love you", a completely independent, unprompted act.
Elias so admires his Big Brother it’s amazing. When Owen has taken toys away from him and has been asked to apologize to Elias, Elias will always respond at the same time with an “I’m sorry Owen” even though he hasn’t done anything wrong. The other day Owen got nailed in the mouth by a Matchbox car that came sailing off the coffee table, needless to say it came with a lot of blood and lots of tears. I was so touched by the outpouring of concern that Elias showed to Owen, wanting to kiss his lip and make it better. It was such genuine care and concern it melted my heart.. Most of the time Elias’ admiration for Owen is demonstrated in a positive way. However, there was a rebellious period a couple of months ago where if I asked Owen to do something Elias would look at me with a sweet but defiant little grin and do the very thing that I was asking Owen not to do. The funniest was the request I made of Owen to stop picking his nose, in response to this request, Elias promptly stuck his index fingers up each of his nostrils and defiantly grinned at me. I could hardly keep myself from breaking down laughing.
Elias loves to watch videos, almost every morning he’ll wake up and ask “watch movie?” or “wanna watch the Cars movie”. We haven’t let him turn into a total couch potoato though, he still loves swimming, going to the beach, and most recently he loves to swing in his new swing. When we first moved it from the meager 2 foot height of a low tree branch to our pergola I could hardly drive into the driveway without Elias declaring “I wanna swing”, his favorite is the “underdog” where his Daddy pushes him so high that he almost touches the bottom side of our pergola, which is about 13’ high. Until I perfected my version of the underdog and figured out how to get him high enough he would say to me, “No, not Mommy, want Daddy to push” He is definitely our little dare devil, The pathway down to our front door is just a dirt path, pretty steep, without any stairs. Elias will run down this pathway hooting and shouting with his hands in the air, when he reaches the bottom he turns around and says “did you see that? Did you see that? Did you see that? Did you see that?” and no I’m not exaggerating when I say that he repeats most statements or questions at least 5 if not 10 times.
A few of his other favs… are bubbles and singing Jesus Loves Me. Whether it’s bubbles in the bath or bubbles blown outside he can’t seem to get enough of them and when it comes to singing “Jesus Loves Me”, I think could sum it up best with the statement “mo Jesus”. If I had a dollar or even a peso for that matter, for every time he has said “mo Jesus” I would be a very rich woman. I’ll sing "Jesus loves me" to him a few times before getting up to leave the room when he’s going to bed and without fail before I reach the doorway he says “sing Jesus one mo time” It’s pretty hard to resist when your baby is saying “mo Jesus” I mean really, what more can a mom ask for? Though I do wonder if it’s often not just a delay tactic to postpone the inevitable bedtime or naptime.
A description of Elias’ 2nd year would not be complete without explaining his absolute infatuation with the Pixar Cars movie, and in particular the characters of Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson. During our cruise to Alaska in July, Elias’ favorite thing to say was “where’s Doc Hudson” even if he was holding the Doc Hudson car in his hand, he would ask the question “Where’s Doc Hudson?” and as I said before, the question would be asked a minimum of 5 times. He sleeps with both Doc Hudson and Lightning McQueen nearly every night and for every nap. Whoever thought of sleeping with soft cuddly animals didn’t know anything about the Blackwell boys. Owen has been know to ask to sleep with a piece of re-bar, but for his first three years was content to cuddle up to his sippy cup as if it were his second mommy and Elias has opted to snuggle up to his two favorite metal racecars Doc Hudson and Lightning.
I could go on and on about all of the cute, shocking and wonderful things about Elias but those are some of my highlights. Hopefully they give each of you a better picture of who this little guy is and what he likes. He’s captured my heart, his Daddy’s heart and I even think his Big Brother’s too!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
So I get a call from Shelley letting me know that she thinks she is running out of gas on the way to the gas station. Quite frightening for me, in that I have not ventured off our property for a month. Let alone sat at the dinner table for more than six meals in the last month. Confirmed. She cannot make it up the hill just before the gas station. What do we do? We have a gas can with gas in it here at the house... So I think to myself, I had better take a muscle relaxant just to be sure my back doesn't start spasming on the way. So I pop my preemptive strike on pain... lift the gas can into the 4Runner and drive off. Fortunately we had a baby sitter here, or I would have been forced to throw the boys into the car without car seats. Got to love Mexico!
As I drive away from the house, I am thinking of Trav and his awesome display of manliness. I didn't get greasy like him, but I did end up with that lovely smell of gasoline on my hands. I got Shelley back on the road, and made it back home no worse for ware.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
If I continue to make more progress, it is looking like in another week, I'll really be able to start with some physical therapy & swimming. Otherwise, I fear that I might need to look into some other solutions.
Thanks for your prayers.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
So I think things are going VERY well. Please keep up with your prayers, there is still a ways to go.
Yesterday I only took ¼ pill of the Valium in the evening (no other pain meds) because I started to feel some of the muscles spasm at the end of the day. During the day… just the steroid. My pain levels have only been up to maybe #2 at the worst, but that is while sitting (I only DO that when I have 2). For the most part, the pain has not gotten past #1 level. Yesterday I was up and out of bed more. Mostly because I just want to get up and start some sort of ANYTHING. When I’ve gotten up, I will get in the inversion table before lying back down in bed.
When I start to feel the pressure build in my lower back, I get on the inversion table for a minute or two… sometimes more (if I start reading a book, I’ve accidentally stayed inverted about 20 minutes.) We also added a lumbar pillow to help my back get into the normal curved position.
I would like to get into a pool and start swimming as soon as possible, but I know I need to take baby steps, but for me… I seem to always jump in head first (usually after assessing how deep the water is).
I am still in bed or on the table 90% of the day, but I am very hopeful that I will be healed.
I don’t know what your take is, but I’m thinking there’s a little miracle happening here.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Elias has this special ability to be somewhat super-human. If you remember, the nickname "tope" almost stuck.
More than anything his desire to sing "Jesus" every time he goes down for a nap or to bed for the night brings me right back to reality. His sweet voice (but most of the time there is quite a bit of whine in it) saying "sing Jesus, sing Jesus" melts my heart! Jesus' love for us is not earned by any of our actions or ideas... It is totally just Him.
JESUS LOVES ME.
I am weak, he is strong.
YES! Jesus Loves me.
Thank you Elias!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I was able to walk the 14 steps to the toilet yesterday & today I took a shower as well, only feeling a little dizzy and unsure of myself (having been laying down on my back for over a week)… without pain getting past the #4 level (only while sitting down)! Yes I am still on pain meds, but in the hospital on more pain meds I had pain up to #7 while in bed. I have also been able to get into an inversion table yesterday and today. This allows for the physical space between the vertebrae to open up and allow for the disks to get back in place. This is a slow process and will take some time, but it sure seems like it is working very well.
Down here I feel the doctor is way too trigger happy to jump into surgery. His plan was to go in and scoop out all the nucleus of both disks! No way! At that point we decided that if it came to surgery we would absolutely come back to California. The very well respected surgeon who performed the surgery on me the first time after reviewing the current MRI’s recommended we wait. Our plan is still to give this one more week of natural therapy then reassess. If we need to come back up to California, Shelley’s uncle has offered to drive their motor home down the Baja and take me back up there. I’m sure that will be the best ride over the Baja that anyone could hope for.
Keep seeking the Lord on my behalf, and please don’t forget to pray even more for Shelley. Even though my mom is here helping way beyond the call of duty, it is still VERY hard for Shelley.
The following is the email that we sent out to most everyone... Please accept our apologies if you were not on the list. Keep us in your prayers. Not just for me, but even more for Shelley!
I (Jeremiah) was in the hospital since last Thurs. with two ruptured disks (the L4/5 and L3/4). I have been unable to walk since then and have been fighting extreme pain, we had MRI’s done on that Thurs. and had been waiting for the neurologist here in Cabo, he was out of town until Monday. The orthopedic surgeon and the neurologist here have recommended surgery, stating that they don’t think my body is going to heal on its own, though they can’t tell us that for sure.
At first we were thinking that surgery was going to be the best solution. We were feeling comfortable with having the procedure performed here and were more or less just waiting for the neurosurgeon to return. However, after much prayer and thought we’ve decided to take a more conservative course of action. We’ve been praying that the Lord would guide us in the decision making process and give us wisdom.
Before speaking with the neurosurgeon I had Shelley read to me out of the Bible - John ch. 5 where Jesus heals the man who has been an invalid for 38 years. Both of us are feeling the need to be more patient and desiring that the Lord would give us more faith in Him and His healing.
Another nugget of wisdom the Lord gave us, I believe, was a direct result of the neurosurgeon being out of town. This delay gave us enough time to have our Chiropractor and my neurosurgeon in San Luis Obispo (who performed the same surgery on me in 2005) look at the MRIs. They both have recommended that we give my body more time to heal before jumping into surgery.
All that being said, I am now home from the hospital. The plan, at least at this point is to wait 2 weeks and then reassess. I am on painkillers, muscle relaxants and now steroids & ice to try and bring down the inflammation. We are hoping that a combination of the medications, hanging upside down on an inversion table and more time will help the healing process. I am still unable to walk and in pain, we know that this is not going to be an easy road and are depending on God’s strength and grace to get us through.
My mom came down on Sunday to help us and will be with us for 2 weeks (or more if needed). Having her here is a tremendous blessing and has really taken a lot of the burden off of Shelley's shoulders. Thank you so very much for your continued prayer, love and support. We would not be making it though all of this without all of you and your prayers.
We continue to pray for wisdom, the Lord’s strength and for His Healing touch on me. If you know someone who would like to pray for us, please fill them in on the details and keep them posted.
Much Love, Jeremiah, Shelley, Owen and Elias
Monday, May 12, 2008
Here's one of my favorite shots from The Big "O's" 3rd birthday. Mexican Law mandates birthday parties must include pinatas, needless to say we've had to give in a little on the no sugar thing. After all, we couldn't have the authorities after us...the look on his face seems to say "I can taste the sugar already".
about the moving thing... Everyone's told us that carpenters are almost always the delay in the construction process here, our story is no exception. After weeks of hearing manana, manana, manana one Sunday afternoon our carpenter pulls up, kitchen cabinets in tow.
The good news was our kitchen cabinets arrived, though the windows and doors we're still a work in progress. As of now we have half of the doors and windows for the downstairs installed. We're still waiting on the rest. Apparently it's a pretty common thing to move into your house here and still be waiting for the doors and windows.
A few fun shots of living in an "unfinished" house...
our bedroom before paint and tile
owen's bedroom at night, living room and dining room by day
owen's bedroom by day and the one that will really be his and Elias' room once we have a window for it.
You may be wondering what's hanging from the ceiling in the upper two shots...yeah you guessed it, the mosquitoes are back in full effect. Most nights it's okay though occasionally we'll wake up to find a handful of little skeeters buzzing around and I go on a killing spree squashing them between the mosquito net and my had... our once pretty white chiffon netting is now stained with the bloody remnants of nightly mosquito hunting.
What's a post without a couple of photos of the boys... Yeah I know Holly can pull it off but I don't seem to have the same mastery of words that she does.
Checking out the Hippos at the San Diego Zoo
Owen in the pilots seat
a quick but yummy breakfast with the Millers and Fosters
sorry but I couldn't resist such cute little buns
Missing you all terribly and sending you our love,
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Life is fairly simple for us boys. When I get my hands on the little video clips that are on Shelley's computer... I'll post the essence of fun that Owen experiences here in Cabo. For now, let's just say that every toy Owen has (whither it was meant to be or not) is for DIRT.
"Hey Owen, what's that for?"
"What is that?"
[who cares what he picked up]
"What's if for?"
It's a good thing we have a lot of dirt. Elias on the other hand is all about food. "bite" "eat" "yogurt" "bana" The moment any food comes into site... he makes a bee line to it. Owen has to guard his plate. I'll serve up Elias a little bit more food... he'll eat it, and then move onto the plate that is closest. Elias and I are thinking about a self control class to help us manage our ability to eat everything in site.
Where Owen and Elias are really bonding is... well... dirt. Owen loves to play in it, and Elias doesn't mind eating it, having it pored over his head or whatever his big brother wants to do with it.
Boys are so simple.
Friday, February 1, 2008
The Lord's faithfulness is amazing. Above all things I pray that His name is magnified through this and that we all will grow in our faith and knowledge of Him. I firmly believe that either the Lord protected our sweet baby boy from harm or that he healed him on the way to the emergency clinic. Regardless of the method, we are unbelievably thankful that he is okay.
It is so nice to be home, I must say the hospital room began to feel pretty cramped, especially as Elias started to feel better. Chasing a 15 month old with an IV in his arm was pretty exhausting. Today was a beautiful day and Elias was so content to be able to play outside with his tractors and trucks. He is not back to walking yet but is doing very well getting around crawling. The doctor thinks that he should be walking in about a week or two.
Sending our Gratitude and Love,
Jeremiah, Shelley, Owen and Elias
Thursday, January 31, 2008
I'm not sure about all that, but I do know that God has had his hands at work. After the car drove over his little body, the only thing that has happened to him was a few scratches and a slightly fractured pelvic bone. Either he was protected from harm as it happened, or he was healed. That is the only thing I can figure. The God who created heaven and earth is also the master physician.
Elias really liked the sound of his laugh in the hallway, not to mention the full attention from everyone. He was really playing up the laugh. We're all home now, and snuggling in for the night. Thank you all again for your prayers.
I'm sure I'll be playing this video over and over again through the years!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Again, I couldn't get the camera out fast enough, but when they got to the cow page, there were giggles and "Cow. Cowww! Moo. Cow." and many smiles.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Elias has a small, very small, fracture in his pelvis. NO signs of internal bleeding. The biggest risk is that if there is a severe increase of muscle protein absorbed into the blood that could trigger kidney failure. The protocol as I understand it is to keep him on and IV drip to "Flush out" or dilute any proteins that could cause any damage.
So we are in the PRAY, watch and wait pattern for 2 days.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I have tried to share Owen's songs with family, but every time we call, most of the time he goes into this whispering singing style that no one can hear.
I finally caught him and did he ever perform.
Enjoy. I'm sure only Grandma, Pops & Gramie will enjoy this as much as us. So I won't be offended if not many people watch. =)
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Here, Shelley demonstrates how to set up for a speed section at K91 on the Pacific Side of Cabo. I was hanging out with the boys at home, so I only heard the stories.
Looks fun doesn't it?
Monday, January 7, 2008
I know it's so cliche to say how fast your kids grow up but man, Owen and Elias are changing so fast, I can hardly keep up:
Elias demands to feed himself and asks for his own fork, water, more, bite...
granted they are only one word requests but it seems like his vocabulary is expanding every hour. Tonight he added "gecko" and "owl" and earlier it was "shorts on" This kid is only 15 months, I wonder what he's going to be asking for in another year. Owen didn't start talking until he was close to 2.
Today for the first time Elias climbed down the stairs from the trailer all by himself. He runs with agility and is intent on trying to escape the yard and either go out in the street or down behind our house that is being built. I can not take my eyes off him for fear he will take off.
He is an amazing sleeper, unlike Owen he goes down really easy... read him a book and sing him a song and he's good to go. Last night he slept from 6:30pm until 7:15am. After battling through the whole bedtime thing with Owen I must say it is a welcome reprieve and definitely gives credence to the saying that babies come with their own unique personalities. We really didn't do much different between Elias and Owen with respect to the whole bed time thing. Elias goes to sleep on his own and Owen, well I can remember trying to let him "cry it out" one time for over an hour. He still has a longer bed time routine than Elias.
Owen is a fantastic big brother... he is amazingly patient with Elias wanting to play with almost everything that he has. He gives him loves, hugs and kisses and seems genuinely concerned with Elias's whereabouts. Sure he has his moments but don't we all. Owen's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds also, he even has a few spanish words in the mix.
Lately he has been really into letters and numbers and pretending that he is reading. He also spent a lot of time with my mom while she was here over the Christmas holiday. Well, the other day when my mom was with him he said that he couldn't read something because "he needed his glasses". Wonder where he learned that? My mom just happens to wear magnifiers to read with. He's also picked up an exasperated sigh that he uses in all too appropriate moments. Crazy how our kids can be mirrors we don't want to look into. I never even realized I made this obnoxious noise until Jeremiah pointed it out to me.
I am amazed by how much he picks up on, their little minds are truly like sponges. Scary and at the same time hopeful. I feel a sense of urgency to try and fill Owen's sponge with as much truth and wisdom as possible.
I almost forgot to mention... I think we might be finally on the road to potty training Owen. Until now he's had virtually no interest in the toilet whatsoever. At the suggestion of my mom we decided to offer m&m's after every successful use of the toilet. Owen LOVES chocolate. It worked for the first couple of pee's and then there were about 5 days where he very clearly decided he didn't want to use the toilet, even if it meant forfeiting the m&m's. We're back on the toilet today and he's happy about the m&m thing... I'm truly hoping we're on our way to ditching diapers.